Though the first round of the Fight for a $15 minimum wage appears to be over, due to the anti-democratic efforts of a right-wing General Assembly more concerned with feathering the beds of the rich and entitled than easing the burden of the poor and disenfranchised, the hotel workers targeted by the Mattiello budget are not going away or shutting up. A pair of interviews over at Bluestockings Magazine, a Brown University based publication writing “about issues from a gender aware perspective” has given voice to hotel workers Santa Brito and Miguelina Almanazar.
Both have been vocal leaders in the fight for fair and decent wages, and their interviews need to be more widely read.
When asked about the General Assembly’s pre-emptive move to prevent the hotel workers from achieving a $15 minimum wage, Almanazar said, “The truth is, we were expecting it because this is what the state and the state politicians always do. Whenever we’re asking for something, they always take the side of the rich. When we’re entering bankruptcy, they raise the taxes on our houses. When something is wrong, the minority has to pay for that. They never want to invest in the minority. They never want to invest in poor people, and that is what we are. So the truth is, we were expecting it, and so it doesn’t have us down. We are going to keep fighting it, and we are going to change the law.
Santa Brito, who once said that “House leadership is moving to jail us in poverty” is at her direct and uncompromising best, saying, “The truth is, I’m really mad, because these are people that are supposed to be providing for us, and in fact what they’re doing is denying us opportunity when we’re just trying to provide for ourselves. We’ve taken it upon ourselves to provide for our families and now they’re just trying to block us. And, the truth is, that if they don’t do their job and provide for us, then we are going to have no other option but to take to the streets to try and reclaim the rights they are trying to take from us.”
These are important interviews from important Rhode Island women that deserve the widest possible audience.